NUSD Race: Does Your Education Background Influence You?

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

THE NATOMAS BUZZ invited the 10 candidates for Natomas Unified school board to participate in a series of articles wherein they answer questions submitted by readers.

Today’s question was sent to us by reader Elena Quintero, Inderkum 2013 Safe & Sober Grad Night Coordinator. 

 HE NATOMAS BUZZ asked, “Where did you attend school kindergarten through 12th grade and how do these experiences – good or bad – shape your views as a potential school board member?” 

Here are the answers submitted by the deadline, in the order they were received:

Ryan Herche

My parents moved quite a bit when I was growing up; approximately 16 times in 16 years. To keep my education consistent, my parents decided to take advantage of home schooling. My experience was very positive because my father and mother often used real world scenarios to teach me everything from math to music. I was always taught to practically apply what I was learning. As the old saying goes: “Parents know best.” My education experience is why I’ll always fight for equal and quality learning conditions for students in our district. Our children are very bright and capable, but a one-size fits all approach to learning will not foster innovation and ingenuity, it will simply damper it. My wife and I are expecting a child soon and I want to make sure he, along with every other child, has endless opportunities to achieve their dreams.

Scott Dosick

I attended public school from K-2. From 3rd through 8th grade, my parents chose to send me to private Jewish day schools so I would receive secular academic and a religious instruction. I attended La Jolla Country Day for high school. As a freshman at UCLA, I felt very prepared academically; but, going from a small private school to a large public university was a culture shock. While Country Day was relatively culturally diverse, it was not very socioeconomically diverse. I worked my way through college in UCLA’s cafeterias – an experience for which I am extremely grateful. Not only did I learn the value of a hard day’s work; but, I also became friends with a diverse group who provided me with a very real world education that has helped shape my views – especially on the importance of strong public schools that meets the diverse needs of all its students.

Mike Bedrosian

I attended school in Southern California in the Hacienda-La Puente USD in Hacienda Heights, CA for my K-12 education. The most rewarding and valued experiences were obtained from all of the programs my school provided free of charge to its students. Some of the numerous programs available to students at the time were accelerated learning curriculum, choir, band, art & drama, and athletics. I, myself played 4 years of soccer, baseball and hockey while in high school. These rewarding experiences were crucial in my personal development during my adolescence. Quality programs should be made available to every student in our district today to enrich their education. As a potential school board member I will ensure our children are given the same opportunities to enhance their advancement. If I am elected this will not be a memory of the past but a requirement of the present to succeed in the future.

Karen Bernal

I was born on Misawa AFB, Japan, and until the age of 21, spent most of my time on various military installations here and in the Far East. All but 3½ years of my education were spent in Department of Defense (DOD) schools overseas. I attended Japanese kindergarten in Japan while my father was assigned to a tour of duty that didn’t allow dependents. I learned English the following year when I started the 1st grade on Kadena AFB, Okinawa, Japan. From there, the two exceptions to my DOD-based schooling came during my 5th and 6th grades in Wichita, Kansas, and my sophomore and part of my junior year outside of Andrews AFB, Maryland. I understand the importance of integrating diversity in our student population; from all backgrounds, walks of life, and abilities, and to treat their needs as being just as important as other education concerns.

Vina Guzman

I was raised in a traditional Catholic home and attended St. Polycarp ES (K-8) in Stanton, CA, and St. Anthony HS (9-12) in Long Beach, CA. My mother attended Mater Dei HS, the most prestigious private high school in Southern CA – she has no college degree. My older brother had the same upbringing and attended the same schools as me – he has no college degree. These experiences shaped my view of public education because I do NOT agree that private school is a guarantee for success as many would like to believe. I wouldn’t be running for NUSD Board of Trustees if I didn’t believe public schools are capable of producing students equipped for higher education. I believe education is what you make of it. If we provide high-quality curriculum, easily accessible programs, and far-reaching support to the kids of NUSD, they can and WILL go to college and succeed.

Bruce Roberts

I attended Browns Elementary and East Nicolaus High School in South Sutter County. Even today Browns Elementary is a rural K-8 of 150 students and East Nicolaus High School serves less than 350 students. While not rich schools by any means, the teachers, administration and community all work with what they have. These are places where everyone rolls up their sleeves and does whatever it takes to keep the schools running, where supplies are always tight and budgets are thin, but no one makes excuses, because everyone is focused on the best interest of the kids. These are communities where self-reliance is cornerstone, but compassion and support of others is a way of life. My life growing up in Sutter County, along with my experience in these schools instilled in me, that learning is exciting, learning is life-long, learning takes place with whatever you have and in everything you do.

Susan Heredia

I attended Sacramento public schools with the exception of two years at a Catholic high school; I excelled in both educational settings and my parents were involved in my education. Throughout my career as an elementary teacher, professor of education and trustee I’ve relied on these experiences to inform my efforts to support and prepare classroom teachers. Both educational settings offered a rigorous curriculum that focused on critical thinking, problem solving and creativity. The public school teachers frequently utilized teaching practices that made complex lessons easy to understand evident of their preparation. Thus, I have been a strong supporter of professional development for the teachers. I am committed to events and activities that are aimed at helping all students to learn by supporting their parents to better serve their children and teacher training. As an educator for 32 years, I believe all students can learn given the appropriate support.

Briza Trujillo Cardenas

I grew up in Lima, Peru in a very turbulent social and economical time. I attended public schools that lacked resources but were rich in great teachers. I also received the support of my family, made up largely of educators. These experiences led me to become a teacher myself but I decided to come to the US before finishing my university program. Unfortunately, the US was not the land of opportunities I thought it was. As a parent, I noticed the education disparities in NUSD and that lower income and minority parents and students lacked a voice. For the past 16 years, I’ve applied the same perseverance and sense of justice my teachers and family taught me when I was younger. As I became involved in district and school affairs, I acquired a broader view of problems and solutions, and the ability to take action and make change happen.

HK Allen

I attended nine different schools between K and 12th; living in South Central my parents did not want my school environment to mirror the environment that surrounded our home. With the constant changing of schools, I adapted by developing the ability to make meaningful relationships early. But sadly, I also known more friends who passed away while in high school than I have since leaving. I understand the extent that parents will take to place their child in the best situation. I did not get out of my situation because of luck; I got out with the guidance of my parents and community members. Natomas has a great community of people who care about each child in this district. I want to increase community engagement and parent participation because that is what got me out of my situation and that is what will propel each Natomas child to the top.

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